South Africans will eat their Christmas dinners in the dark about whether they will pay up to 32% more on their electricity consumption in the new year, in spite of rolling blackouts.
SOUTH Africans will eat their Christmas dinners in the dark about whether they will pay up to 32% more on their electricity consumption in the new year, in spite of rolling blackouts.
This comes after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday granted the Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) a 20-day extension to make the final decision on Eskom’s revenue application for the 2023/24 financial year.
The high court yesterday said Nersa should make a decision on Eskom’s revenue application for a 32% tariff hike for the 2023/24 financial year on or before January 12, 2023.
In July this year, the same court issued an order for Nersa to make a final decision on this particular Eskom revenue application on or before December 24, 2022.
Media statement – NERSA granted extension to make final decision on Eskom’s revenue application for the 2023/24 financial year. pic.twitter.com/U0hwKnI71D
— NERSA_ZA (@NERSA_ZA) December 21, 2022
The debt-laden power utility is also seeking a further 9.74% increase for the 2024/25 financial year in the same tariff application.
Last week, the regulator was supposed to make a determination on Eskom’s fifth Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD5) revenue application for the 2023/24, and 2024/25 financial years.
But its electricity subcommittee requested more time after a meeting to consider 14 areas of concern which were raised by regulatory members.
Nersa’s electricity subcommittee requested the submission to be referred back to enable management to provide additional information identified by the subcommittee to enhance the submission.
The subcommittee was granted the additional time as requested, taking into consideration the timelines determined by the court.
Eskom’s applications for hiking tariffs have been roundly rejected by political parties and labour movements, citing the rising cost of living and growing joblessness among the reasons why costly electricity would be unaffordable.
The DA last month submitted an unsolicited “Eskom change in circumstances” note to Nersa asking them to reject the entity’s tariff application request.
The DA’s energy spokesperson, Kevin Mileham, said electricity availability was declining markedly and it would be immoral for Nersa to grant Eskom its tariff application request when they can’t even deliver electricity half the time.
“Granting Eskom the requested 32% tariff increase will be tantamount to levying an ‘Eskom Inefficiency Tax’ on consumers – where struggling South Africans are forced to carry the financial cost of Eskom’s failing business model,” Mileham said.
“Consumers have subsidised Eskom’s inefficiency for far too long and any notion that they should pay more into this black hole should be dismissed with contempt,” he said.
Eskom yesterday continued implementing Stage 4 load shedding after downgrading it from Stage 6, following the breakdown of six generating units on Monday.
Eskom said this was necessary to ensure sufficient generation capacity was available overnight to replenish the dam levels at the pumped storage power station so that this capacity will be available.
Meanwhile, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) yesterday said Eskom should make way for an independent power grid such as in the EU, the UK, US, and small, forward-looking countries such as New Zealand.
FMF director, Eustace Davie, said South Africa would have a robust electric power-supply system only once its electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and control functions are separated and independently run.
“The security of short-term and long-term supplies demands that the government changes the current faulty structure,” Davie said.
“World experience reveals that the best operating electricity-supply systems have several characteristics in common: one of which is that customers have a choice of buying from competing electricity retailers.
“If they are unhappy with the service or the prices charged by one supplier, they can easily and rapidly switch to another,” Davie said.